News / Middle East

US: Hezbollah Dominance in Lebanon Would be 'Problematic'

Angry Sunni protesters react as they hold posters showing the slain former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad Hariri, who they support, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, 24 Jan 2011
Angry Sunni protesters react as they hold posters showing the slain former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad Hariri, who they support, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, 24 Jan 2011

The United States warned Monday that a dominate role in the next Lebanese government for the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement would be "problematic" for U.S.-Lebanon relations. Hezbollah has long been on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

U.S. officials are closely monitoring the political maneuvering in Beirut, and they are serving notice that the larger the role Hezbollah has in a new government, the more difficult it will be for the U.S.- Lebanon relationship.

The United States strongly supported the fallen government of the now-caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the U.N.-backed international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal issued a long-awaited, but still secret, indictment in the case last week and Hezbollah figures are widely expected to be named in it.

The United States has long listed the pro-Iran Shi'ite militia and political party as a terrorist organization, blaming it for two 1980s bomb attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

With a Hezbollah-backed candidate, businessman Najib Mikati, emerging as the likely successor to Saad Hariri, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States will reserve judgment until a new government is formed. He made clear, however,  U.S. apprehension about a broader Hezbollah role.

"We’ll wait to see what the government looks like, who is involved in that government, and what the policies of that government will be, and we’ll evaluate what the impact on our relationship will be," said Crowley. "All I’m saying, which is obvious, is that we have great concerns about Hezbollah. We see it as a terrorist organization. And the larger the role played by Hezbollah in this government, the more problematic it is for the relationship between the United States and Lebanon."

Crowley said it is "hard to imagine" any new Lebanese government being truly representative of the entire country if it backs away from its support of the Hariri tribunal, as Hezbollah has demanded.

He said the United States wants to see a government that serves the interests of the Lebanese people and not the government of another country - an apparent reference to Iran, which helped found and supports Hezbollah.

Crowley said there is every indication that the ongoing deliberations in Beirut are in line with the country’s constitutional process and that the United States would not want to see any factions resort to violence.

Hezbollah members, who took to the streets in previous cabinet crises in 2006 and 2008, have staged marches in recent days.  Some Hariri supporters have accused Hezbollah of, in effect, staging a coup, and have called for a "day of anger" protest Tuesday.

Because of Hezbollah’s terrorist listing by the United States, the rise of a government dominated by the group could jeopardize U.S. aid for Lebanon.

The United States has been aiding the Lebanese armed forces as a counterweight to Hezbollah, a program that is unpopular among Congressional Republicans and some Democrats.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid